Open Letter to Gary Carr, Chair of Halton Region

Published on 08 July 2009 by Mattamy Partners

From Peter Gilgan, CEO Mattamy Homes

Dear Chair Carr:

Politics is your business, building homes is mine.

For more than 30 years now, together with many hundreds of Mattamy employees and many thousands of skilled trades-people, we’ve built well over 13,000 award-winning family homes in Halton Region. My company has helped some families get their start in life and others move up to the home of their dreams.

Through the years, I’ve stayed out of the limelight. But I can no longer remain silent.

Halton Region proposes to raise taxes on new homes by $8,000. That’s in addition to your tax increase of $8,000 over the last 12 months and the $9,000 tax increase that Oakville is currently proposing.

If this increase goes through, in just five years, the combined Halton Region and Town of Oakville new home tax will have increased from $24,981 to $63,813 without any increase in the services provided.

That’s a tax hike of 155 per cent. Nothing justifies an increase that large in so little time.

In fact, the $8,000 tax hike is so extraordinary, Council had to by-pass the Ontario Development Charge legislation enabling such taxation.

How can you justify new home taxes that are twice as high as in Durham? It just doesn’t add up.

Another tax increase of $8,000 per new home far exceeds the costs of new growth.

I agree, existing taxpayers should not pay taxes to support growth and new development. But, it is irresponsible to suggest that without another tax increase on new homes, rates will go up for existing taxpayers. You may well decide to hike property taxes. But it will not be because homebuilders and new homeowners aren’t prepared to pay their fair share.

If this tax increase is approved, it will put the dream of new home ownership beyond the reach of many average families. It will mean that younger couples and families who grew up in our community will have to move somewhere else to afford a new home. And it will mean that seniors and “empty nesters” looking to down size to a new home will have to move away from their friends, kids and grandchildren.

Finally, whatever might be said about the need for funding development, this new tax increase was proposed last year using out-of-date, pre-recession budget assumptions and estimates.

Governments around the world, businesses and families have all had to readjust to the new economic reality.

Shouldn’t the Region of Halton do the same?

Let’s think twice about increasing taxes on new home owners.

Sincerely,

Peter E. Gilgan
CEO, Mattamy Homes

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